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Meet Ashlyn Ruder, The ‘American Idol’ Singer With A Heartbreaking Story

Jill O'Rourke

Jill O'Rourke

ABC/Christopher Willard

We can’t wait to see Ashlyn Ruder audition for American Idol Season 19. The 22-year-old singer from Turlock, California, is set to deliver an emotional performance for the judges.

Ashlyn’s story of coming to Idol is an interesting one — mostly because she didn’t sign herself up. Read on to find out more about her before she appears on the show.

5 Facts About ‘American Idol’s Ashlyn Ruder

Ashlyn’s Husband Signed Her Up For ‘Idol’

Ashlyn is married, and her husband Dylan Ruder is the one who signed her up to audition for American Idol. She told local news that she’s been “skeptical” of competition shows in the past, but decided to go for it when her husband told her what he’d done.

Ashlyn and Dylan will be celebrating their second wedding anniversary this June. Last year, she wrote on Instagram, “My days almost always involve you sweeping me off my feet.”

She’s Friends With Fellow Contestant Caleb Kennedy

Ashlyn Ruder posted about Caleb Kennedy’s early release audition video on Instagram Stories, calling him her “good friend.” She added, “so proud of you and can’t wait to write together again soon.”


The 16-year-old country singer impressed the judges in his audition with a performance of his original song “Nowhere.” Katy Perry told him the song would “take you somewhere.”

Ashlyn Grew Up In A Musical Family

According to the Turlock Journal, Ashlyn’s father can play almost any song on the piano without sheet music. Her mother and grandmother also gave her some good advice about performing.

“Growing up, I was kind of shy performing unless I was around my family,” Ashlyn said. “It’s not that those butterflies ever go away, it’s that you have to train them to fly in a line.”

Ashlyn Ruder Recorded An Album At Age 13

“Music has been a pastime of mine my entire life. I was always doing something music related, and that’s just how it was for me growing up,” Ashlyn told the Turlock Journal. “Now, it’s become a dream that’s real and it’s a career. It’s crazy.”


Ashlyn reportedly performed in her church’s worship band growing up, and she even recorded an album when she was just 13. However, producers apparently wanted her to be a pop star, while Ashlyn loved country music.

She’s Paying Tribute To Her Dad On ‘Idol’

For her audition on American Idol, Ashlyn Ruder performed an original song she calls “Bryan’s Song.” It’s about her dad, who struggled with addiction. A preview of the performance shows Ashlyn crying and hugging her father.

“I wanted to have a relationship with my dad and the only way I knew how to do that was to write it in a song,” Ashlyn told the Turlock Journal. “I never knew when I was going to share it with him…I put it in my back pocket. When he totally turned his life around and became sober, I knew that was the ending to the song.”

Find out if Ashlyn gets a Golden Ticket to Hollywood when her audition airs Sunday night at 8/7c on ABC.

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About the Author

Jill O'Rourke
Jill O’Rourke is a contributor at Talent Recap, writing news stories and recaps for shows like ‘AGT,’ ‘The Voice,’ and ‘American Idol.’ She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and Film Studies, and has been writing about pop culture since 2012, with previous bylines at Crushable and A Plus. Jill spends her free time binge-watching sitcoms and daydreaming about life as a hobbit

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